Environment and Climate Change

Treaty to enable high seas marine protected areas takes step forward

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The NZ deep sea trawler West Bay does a fast turn after hauling its catch from international waters in the Tasman Sea. Greenpeace  along with more than a thousand scientists are supporting the call for a moratorium  on high seas bottom trawling, because of the vast amount of marine life that is destroyed by this fishing method.
©2004Greenpeace/Roger Grace

The United Nations has advanced a step closer to an international treaty to protect marine life on the high seas, with an aim of setting up a mechanism for creating marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdictions. Aaron Orlowski SeafoodSource International waters outside countries’ exclusive economic zones make up 60 percent of the ocean and cover almost half of the surface of the earth. The waters are rife with marine life, including many threatened species, but are subject to ... Read More »

Fossil Fuels Are Powering Trump’s Foreign Policy

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The president is remarkably consistent when it comes to pushing coal, oil, and gas on foreign leaders. Michael T. Klare The Nation Who says President Trump doesn’t have a coherent foreign policy? Pundits and critics across the political spectrum have chided him for failing to articulate and implement a clear international agenda. Look closely at his overseas endeavors, though, and one all-too-consistent pattern emerges: Donald Trump will do whatever it takes to prolong the reign of fossil fuels by sabotaging ... Read More »

Extremely Nasty Climate Wake-Up

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Now that the Great Acceleration dictates the biosphere with ever more intensity, sudden changes in the ecosystem are causing climate scientists to stop and ponder what’s happening to our planet, like never before… hmm! Robert Hunziker CounterPunch The Great Acceleration: “Only after 1945 did human actions become genuine driving forces behind crucial Earth systems,” (J.R.McNeill/Peter Engelke, The Great Acceleration, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, London, 2014, pg. 208). Abrupt changes outside the boundaries of natural variability are ... Read More »

Nicholas F. Stump: Should a healthy environment be a human right?

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Do we have a fundamental right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food? Nicholas F. Stump Huntington Herald-Dispatch The idea of environmental human rights is receiving growing attention worldwide, driven by our global ecological crisis. But the United States has lagged behind in codifying these rights into laws and in successfully furthering them. While this may seem like an issue for legal scholars, it has very real importance for regions like Appalachia, where I work. Coal ... Read More »

Microbeads ban: Government to outlaw microplastics in cosmetic products

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Any kind of ‘rinse-off’ personal care and cosmetic products are affected, but not ‘leave-on’ make-up or sunscreen after industry complaints about the cost Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent Independent The Government is to go ahead with a ban on “rinse-off” plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products following a public consultation, it has announced. The proposal comes amid increasing evidence that tiny plastic particles are damaging marine life and could even pose a serious risk to human… Microbeads ban: Government… Read More »

Circular economy isn’t a magical fix for our environmental woes

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Solving our ecological crises means diluting the power of global corporations – not propping them up Micha Narberhaus and Joséphine von Mitschke-Collande The Guardian The circular economy’s June jamboree in Finland, attended by around 1,500 experts and policymakers, showed just how much momentum the concept has gained in… Little wonder. The circular economy model – which aims to use closed-loop production to keep resources in play for as long as possible – is presented as a pragmatic, win-win solution; an ... Read More »

Al Gore: Australian government subsidising coal power would be ‘crazy’

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Former US vice president and climate change campaigner says providing funding for infrastructure to support Adani coal mine is ‘just… Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Any move by the Australian government to subsidise coal-fired power would be “crazy” and providing funding for infrastructure to support the Adani coal mine is “just nuts,” former US vice president and… “Globally, the world is moving rapidly away from subsidies to fossil fuels,” he… “It would be odd if Australia went in the opposite direction ... Read More »

Just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, study says

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A relatively small number of fossil fuel producers and their investors could hold the key to tackling climate change Tess Riley The Guardian Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a new report. The Carbon Majors Report (pdf) “pinpoints how a relatively small set of fossil fuel producers may hold the key to systemic change on carbon emissions,” says Pedro… Just 100 companies… Read More »

Global Meltdown? Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilis

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This year will go down with 1979 (Three Mile Island), 1986 (Chernobyl) and 2011 (Fukushima) as one of the nuclear industry’s worst ever ‒ and there’s still another six months to go, writes Dr Jim… Jim Green New Matilda Two of the industry’s worst-ever years have been in the past decade and there will be many more bad years ahead as the trickle of closures of ageing reactors becomes a flood ‒ the… The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures ... Read More »

FOI documents confirm government holding almost one year’s worth of pollution data

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The federal government has been keeping almost a year’s worth of pollution data secret, despite it being scheduled for release in May, documents obtained under freedom of… Lucy Cormack The Age Independent estimates suggest Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply since the government last released its quarterly data in December – a trend that would make the… Quarterly updates by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, described as “up-to… FOI documents confirm… Read More »

These experts say we have three years to save the planet from irreversible destruction

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A planet devastated by climate change may seem like a distant future. But Earth is already experiencing effects today. Leanna Garfield World Economic Forum Globally, the mean rate of sea level rise increased 50% in the last two decades. In 2017, temperatures have already reached their highest levels in history in some areas, from California to Vietnam. And the past three years were the hottest on record. In a new open letter, six… These experts say… Read More »

France will ‘ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040’

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Environment minister unveils five-year-plan to fulfil country’s commitments under Paris Agreement Chloe Farand    Independent France plans to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the country’s new environment minister has announced. Nicolas Hulot made the announcement as he unveiled a series of measures as part of newly elected President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to make the country carbon neutral by… France will ‘ban… Read More »

Politics podcast: Anna Krien on the climate wars

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Melbourne-born author Anna Krien’s latest Quarterly Essay explores the debates on climate change policy in Australia and the ecological effects of not acting. Michelle Grattan The Conversation She interviewed farmers, scientists, Indigenous groups, and activists from Bowen to Port Augusta. She says climate change denialism has transformed into “climate change nihilism”. Krien says the Finkel review provides another opportunity in a… Politics podcast: Anna… Read More »

The rising stakes for ocean governance

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World oceans play the crucial role of a life support in poverty alleviation, food security, human health, and curbing climate change. Mizan R Khan The Daily Star But our oceans are increasingly being threatened and degraded by human-induced climate change, natural disasters, depletion of fisheries, loss of… Ocean governance in recent years has become an important area of global diplomacy. The process began with the UNEP-initiated Regional Seas Program (RSP) back in… The rising stakes… Read More »

Fishermen Suspect Tory Brexit Pledge Masks Betrayal on £6.3bn Fishing Zone

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The Government has committed to scrapping the Fisheries Convention of 1964, allowing Britain to take back control of its territorial waters from the EU out to twelve… Jack Montgomery Breitbart But a Fishing for Leave spokesman told Breitbart London fishermen are concerned that failure to commit to reclaiming the country’s full, 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) signals an… Designed to pave the way for Britain’s absorption into the European Economic Community, as the… Fishermen Suspect Tory… Read More »

Farmers join fight against Adani coalmine over environmental concerns

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More than 2,000 farmers and agriculture leaders express concern proposed Carmichael coalmine could affect groundwater, biodiversity and… Michael Slezak The Guardian A group of Australian farmers have joined the large coalition of groups fighting against Adani’s giant Carmichael coalmine, after they became concerned about the affects the mine would have on groundwater, biodiversity, rural communities and… Farmers for Climate Action – a group of more than 2,000 farmers and… Farmers join fight… Read More »